As the day draws in, I always keep an eye on developments outside my window.
Often I’ll catch sight of deer or turkeys, though we seem to be off their beaten route currently.
Perhaps they heard rumors about a bear!
Sometimes, though, the sky seems alive.
This was the case two nights ago when I looked up and saw “creatures” invading the sky from the southwest.
It was as if they had suddenly been released from captivity and they advanced at a fast rate of knots.
At first, I’d seen birds. Geese, perhaps, with wide spread wings and long necks.
Then came a wolf, or a fire-breathing dragon hot their heels!
There should have been terrifying sound effects.
But it was just the wind, howling through the woods.
After the mad stampede, came the camp followers, flowing as if in pursuit, across the sky.
Returning indoors, I got a phone call from Tim.
As ever, he had an airline story.
First it was a moan about the horrendous noise that assaults the ears these days, when you are placed on always lengthening holds.
We agreed that it is just a ploy to persuade people to give up and go away.
Tim had hung on. There was a refund involved!
Finally, he was connected with a nice lad called Fabrizzio.
Clearly, he was somewhere foreign and Tim always has to know: “Where are you?”
Colombia. “Ah”, said Tim, “working from home?”
Fabrizzio said he was, but how did Tim guess?
“I can hear your chickens!”
As Tim related his story, I’d noticed further action without, so I took the conversation into the garden.
Of course the string story came up, as it had originated with Tim. But he had no useful theory as to why string has been unraveled the length of a country road in Upstate New York.
In lieu of the clucking chickens, Tim now had to compete with my wind chimes which were seriously agitated.
The evening was a beautiful deep blue .
Because I had Sudan in my mind, I went back to see how I’d treated the story when I told it in 2019. I was a novice blogger then, with unreliable internet service.
The introduction had floated in cyberspace for a day or two leaving people wondering how I had got involved in such a hair-brained expedition.
What I have only now realized is that another part of the story must have got itself terminally lost.
It was only a matter of a few days and riding in the back of a Bedford truck in southern Sudan was exceedingly dull, but those missing days included my birthday on the banks of the Nile.
And then there was the falling in it.
Perhaps I should belatedly tell that bit.
The good thing about Northern Sudan was principally that it marked the end of our overland journey.
But also being in a desert was an improvement.
There were thorns and sand fleas but at night it was delightfully cool and the immensity of the dark sky made all the discomforts drop away.
Camping in Sudan was not the craziest thing I ever did.
Once, I went to Lagos for the weekend, flying out of JFK on Nigeria Airways.
Preparing their weight and balance documents was one of the challenges I often undertook.
Not infrequently, I refused to sign my name to the fiction they sometimes were.
Then the manager was quite happy to sign instead.
Still, I got there and back safely.
And that’s all I will say about that exploit.